Monthly Archives June 2007


What a week!!!! :-)

On Friday, we got up early and went shooting at Pecos National Historical Park, about 30 minutes outside of Santa Fe. The park didn’t open until 8:00 am, so when we got there, the light was already pretty harsh, but once we climbed down into the native Kiva’s, the bright light beaming in was really great, and we spent most of our time huddled in these underground Kivas shooting the beams of light (as shown above—click on the photo for a larger version).

When we got back to the classroom, we processed that morning’s shoot in Lightroom, and we learned some new Photoshop CS3 tricks. One that the class really liked was the new Auto Blend and Auto Align features in CS3, and we saw a startling example of it in use as I intentionally took a 10-photo pano, handheld, without changing any camera settings (everything was on “auto”) and CS3 was able to stitch it together perfectly with no gaps; no color change; no nuthin’. It was really slick to see this real world example, and how it opens instant panos to anyone without special equipment or complicated camera techniques.

We spent the rest of the day printing, while I did some more one-on-one portfolio reviews. On Friday night, all the students (from all six classes) gathered together at a beautiful downtown hotel for a cocktail party and group dinner, followed by a presentation of the student’s work that week from each class. It was really fascinating to see what the other classes where working on (there were five other classes going on at the same time as mine, including; How to Market Your Work, Mastering the Portrait; Beginning Photography With Digital Cameras, Lighting Portraits on Location, and a creative class from National Geographic photographer Chris Rainier, called “In Search of the Spirit; Its Land and People”).

Then on Saturday morning, we were back in the digital lab, making our final prints, backing up all the actions we made, and backing up our Lightroom Libraries, and celebrating the wonderful week we spent together.

As an instructor; I can pretty honestly say I’ve never worked as hard as you did during my week at Santa Fe (and I worked my students just as hard)—but it’s worth it. It’s an educational experience like no other, and both the students and I learned a lot, laughed a lot, and we all made some new friends that will last for many years to come. I highly recommend the Santa Fe Workshops, and I’m so impressed with what they’re doing, and their passion and dedication to quality education, that I’m trying to explore ways in which NAPP can work closer with them in the future, because I would love to be able to expose more NAPP members to the amazing things that happen out there every single week.

This fall they have an on-location workshop coming up in San Miguel, Mexico that just looks incredible. This is there second year going to San Miguel, and the photographic opportunities it offers are just staggering. Here’s the link to the San Miguel workshop, and if you want to learn more about the Santa Fe Workshops in general, click right here.

My sincere thanks to the 12 students who spent the week with me. I’ll never forget the experience, and thanks for making the week so much fun, and so rewarding for me as an educator.


We are having just an incredible experience here at the wonderful Santa Fe Workshops (they’ve really created a wonderfully creative environment for learning). We started off Thursday morning with a Lightroom Q&A session, then we went over some questions the class had, and I did five mini-tutorials just to help cement some concepts we learned earlier in the week.

I did some more portfolio reviews (I saw some really great photography today), and then we headed out for our on-location bridal shoot at a downtown church. As it turned out, the church was really, really tiny, and having 12 photographers and two assistants shooting looked like the papparazzi was in the church shooting a celebrity bride. We continued the shoot outside where we had lots more room. Luckily, we had great natural light inside and our bridal model was just great.

After that we headed back to the classroom to process the images using Lightroom and Photoshop. Right after class, my brother Jeff, one of my students, and I headed straight up to Taos, New Mexico to shoot the famous church; the Mission of Saint Francis of Assisi (One of my shots from there is shown above). We had a great time shooting, but we couldn’t stay long enough for the light to get really good because we had to get back for a dinner party thrown by two of my students (the party was wonderful, with incredible food, home made Margaritas, wine, and lots of laughs late until late into the night).

We’re heading out first thing in the morning for our last day’s shoot. After the shoot we’re focusing on printing. Tomorrow’s the last full day of our week long workshop, but on Saturday morning we get a half day to finish up our printing, and cover any final techniques.

Now for some quick news updates:

  • Adobe has released a new edition of their free downloadable quarter publication “Adobe Magazine,” and you can download your copy right here.
  • After I mentioned that some of my Santa Fe Workshop students were Canon shooters, and I found out from a friend at Canon how to set them up to shoot wireless using Canon Speedlight, I had a number of posts, and emails, about how it’s done. Here’s how to set up yours: (1) You need two Speedlights; One that sits on your camera’s Hot Shoe. On the back of the flash near the bottom is a switch you need to set to Master. Then (2) on the second Speedlight (the one you want to be wireless), you set the same switch to Slave. That’s itâ”now it’s wireless (the sensor on the bottom of the Speedlight accepts a low power pulse flash from the Master flash, and that’s what triggers it).There are no settings to change or adjust on the camera itselfâ”all you need are those two switches on the Speedlights themselves. You control the power output of the wireless flash from the back of the Master flash on the hotshoe.
  • The latest episode of one of my favorite Podcasts, The Digital Photography Show” is now online, and this week they’ve got the scoop on some very cool Photoshop plug-ins from OnOne software. You can listen to the show online by clicking here.
  • George Jardine’s latest Lighroom Podcast is now available, and this time he’s got a short tutorial on Lightroom’s develop module. You can download it here, along with any other of George’s great podcasts.
  • Laurie Excell, who we’re honored to have teaching her first Photohsop World session this year in Las Vegas, is back from the latest DLWS Workshop out on Oregon’s coast. She’s got some beautiful images from their trip, and you can check them out on her way cool blog.
  • I mentioned how amazing National Geographic photographer Chris Rainer’s presentation was here in Santa Fe on Wednesday night (each instuctor does a 30-minute presentation on their work for the entire student body). Here’s a link to Chris’ black and white online gallery. Click here to see some really amazing and inspiring photography from one heck of a gifted photographer.

Have a great Friday everybody. :-)


When we were out at Eaves Movie Ranch yesterday, I did a three different mini-session on shooting on-location flash, including two using my “Scott Kelby Location Kit” (From B&H Photo). Here’s a few shots of my wonderful Santa Fe Workshop Digital Lab assistant Susan Thelwell, taken during one of those mini-sessions.

These were taken just outside the Saloon, under the front porch where she was backlit and totally in the shadows. I positioned one Nikon SB-800 flash unit (set to Wireless Remote) to the right of my camera (about 45°), about four feet in front of her and up high aiming downward.

The goal was to show my students how easy it is to control the flash’s power output (all done wirelessly, right from the back of my camera) so the light looks natural, like daylight, without the harsh look usually associated with on-camera flash. I have a number of Canon shooters in my class, and Dave Carlson over at Canon was nice enough to help me show my students how to do the same thing with their Canon wireless flash units.

For some more photos from yesterday’s shoot (and my daily Santa Fe Workshop update), scroll down to the next post. :-)




Today we hit the ground running learning how to use Lightroom with Photoshop (and we went over some of my latest Photoshop CS3 tips, including my new “Hollywood Look” portrait effect which was a HUGE hit with my students).

In the afternoon I taught the class how to shoot tethered directly into Lightroom, then we did an afternoon shoot of some Calla Lillies. The actual flowers themselves looked pretty lame (they were somewhat damaged along the way), but I was really tickled at how my students worked those shots, and came up with creative ways to shoot them. When we were done they looked good enough that I used one of their shots to open my presentation to the entire student body tonight (National Geographic photographer Chris Rainier is also teaching here this week, and his presentation tonight was absolutely mind blowing!).

I’ve included three more shots (Above) I got during yesterday’s shoot at the Eaves Movie Set. Tomorrow, we’re doing more Photoshop CS3, more Lightroom, and we’ve got a live on-location photo shoot. Sounds like another great day ahead.  Wish you all were here!

Yesterday in my Santa Fe Workshops class we picked up where we left off in Lightroom, and we worked learning the Develop module, so we’d be able to fully process the images from the shoot we would be doing that afternoon at Eaves Movie Ranch (used in many famous Western Movies). The shot below is of one of the cowboy models we hired (we hired three, and a horse model. I had a hard time getting a model release out of the horse, but luckily the cowboy shown here [named “fiddles”], was more amenable.

The things that really struck a chord with my students yesterday were: (1) Virtual Copies (2) The Tone Curve (3) The Before/After views in the Develop Module (4) The White Balance preview in the Navigator palette (5) The Recovery control and the Vibrance control (6) And the Tonal Adjustment tools. We’re having a blast, and I’m really delighted to have so many great photographers in my class—it makes the day inspirational for all of us, and we’re constantly looking at each others images during the day while they’re processing their images.

I also started my one-on-one portfolio reviews yesterday, and they’re going great. More of those today, along with using Lightroom with Photoshop. Can’t wait!!!

Now, some quick news:

  • Corey Barker (AKA: the Photoshop Lad) has a great “Quick Makeover” video tutorial using Diffuse Glow over at (where he writes a daily Photoshop blog), and you’ve got to check it out here.
  • Next time you’re watching NAPP TV (Photoshop TV), we’ve added a new feature—on screen clickable links. So, when we mention a link to a cool site, or well…anything, you can click right on the video, and it will launch your Web browser and take you to that page. Thanks to our in-house video guru Jason Scrivner for pulling off this middle miracle.
  • I did an in-depth interview over at and it just went live yesterday. If you want to check it out, click right here.

Hopefully, I’ll have more news later today, but I’ve got to get to class. Have a great Wednesday. Wish you were here! :)


We kicked off my week-long hands on Workshop this morning, and we started right off with a segment on using Smart Objects. We created some very cool templates, based on Smart Objects, and I have to say it was really a kick seeing how excited the students were about learning this very cool technology.

We spent the rest of the morning working on some of my latest CS3 techniques, then we took an hour for lunch, and went out on a class photo shoot (three of my shots from today’s shoot are shown aboveâ”click for a larger version).

Then when we came back from our shoot, and headed back into Santa Fe’s Digital Lab, we started working right away in Lightroom. A few of the students hadn’t even used Lighroom before, but they picked it up really fast, so we worked in Lightroom for the rest of day.

After dinner, we watched three 30-minute photography presentations from three of the other instructors (there’s six of us total, teaching everything from Photoshop to Location Lighting, from to How to Market Your Work, to Portrature, and there’s even a beginner’s class on Digitial Photography). All three presentations were incredibly inspiring and informative and the crowd just ate them up. (My presentation is coming up on Wed. evening).

It was a great end to a wonderful day of sharing, learning, laughing, and fun, and I’m so honored to be a part of it. That’s it from Day 1–more tomorrow! :)

P.S. Reid Callanan, the Director of the Santa Fe Workshops, turned me on to this great photography blog from National Georgraphic photographer David Allen Harvey. Click here to see some great work.